CLIP-ings: February 16, 2018

Internet Governance

FCC Supports SpaceX Satellite Internet: Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai urged the approval of an application by Elon Musk’s SpaceX to use low Earth-orbit satellites to provide broadband services to Americans living in rural or hard-to-serve areas where fiber optic cables and cell towers do not reach.

YouTube’s Stricter Self-Regulation: Following a series of controversial videos by popular vlogger Logan Paul, YouTube released new policy changes that outline the company’s stricter approach to behavior it deems harmful to the YouTube community of “advertisers, the media industry, and…the general public”; though the new policies omit a definition of “harm,” they allow YouTube to stop recommending the channel’s videos and cut off the channel’s ability to serve ads and access premium monetization programs.

Privacy

Privacy Victory or Speech Suppression? YouTube and Instagram may be blocked in Russia unless they comply with a court order compelling the removal of 14 Instagram posts and seven YouTube videos that show Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska and Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Prikhodko on a yacht with an alleged escort; though the court in Russia’s Krasnodar region held that the videos and posts violate Deripaska’s right to privacy, others, including anti-Kremlin campaigner Alexey Navalny, called the decision an “act of censorship.”

Private Facebook Accounts May Be Discoverable: The New York Court of Appeals ruled in a personal injury case that Facebook posts, videos, and messages “reasonably calculated” to contain “material and necessary” evidence may be discoverable even if the user’s Facebook account is set to private; Chief Judge Janet DiFiore explained that “[s]ome materials on a Facebook account may fairly be characterized as private, but even private materials may be subject to discovery if they are relevant.”

Information Security and Cyberthreats

What’s Yours is Mine: The UK Information Commissioner’s Office took down its website following the revelation that it—along with some 4,000 other sites—was infected with a code that uses visitors’ computers to mine the cryptocurrency, Monero; security experts traced the crypto mining script to a website plug-in called Browsealoud, which helps blind people access the web and claims that the bug was only active for four hours on Sunday.  

Olympics Cyberattack: A yet-to-be-identified culprit launched a cyberattack on the Winter Olympics’ opening ceremony; the attack downed internet access and telecasts, grounded broadcasters’ drones, and prevented spectators from printing out reservations for the ceremony thereby leading to an unusually high number of empty seats.

Intellectual Property

$6.75m for 5Pointz: U.S. District Judge Frederic Block awarded $6.75 million in damages to 21 artists whose graffiti work at 5Pointz warehouses was whitewashed by the buildings’ owner after a jury found that their artwork was protected under the Visual Artists Rights Act because of their “recognized stature”; the judge awarded the artists the maximum damages possible, stating the buildings’ owner “willfully” ruined the artwork and showed no remorse for his “recalcitrant behavior.”

Copyright Credits on Google Images: In exchange for a multi-year license for Getty Images’ photos, Google agreed to highlight copyright attribution on images and remove “view image” links for pictures to reduce the number of direct downloads; the agreement follows Getty’s competition law complaint against Google with the European Commission, which accuses Google of being a one-stop piracy shop, allowing users to easily download and view copyrighted photos.

Free Expression and Censorship

AI Blocks Extremism: The UK Home Office developed an AI program that can automatically detect 94% of online Islamic State propaganda with a 99.99% success rate by examining video content during the upload process and stopping it from reaching the internet; the tool’s development alerted large tech firms to take more meaningful action against extremist content and can help smaller companies that don’t have the resources to tackle the problem, but it also raises concerns about censorship and legal accountability for content removal.

India’s Press Crackdown: After a journalist in India wrote a story exposing a major privacy breach in a nationwide database of more than a billion Indians, supporters of India’s Hindu nationalist Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, filed a police complaint accusing the journalist, her newspaper, and the alleged cyber criminals of forgery and other offenses punishable by 30 years in jail; India fell three spots on the World Press Freedom Index to 136, below Afghanistan and Myanmar, because of the growing censorship by Hindu nationalists.

On The Lighter Side

The Sound of Silence: A new app helps diners in San Francisco (and soon New York, Portland, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.) avoid noisy restaurants.


Information Law News From CLIP-ings International Correspondents Around the Globe

This academic year, former CLIP-ings Editorial Fellows studying abroad are reporting from time-to-time on current local news and developments in the field of information law!

From Victoria Loeb – Paris, France:

WhatsApp at Work in Advance of GDPR: Seeking GDPR compliance, WhatsApp created a new feature—to be enabled by May 25th and extended to Facebook and Instagram—allowing users to download individual personal data directly from the app to give them “more control over their data…ensuring more protection, transparency, and uniformity”; WhatsApp’s privacy development follows the French data protection authority’s formal notice to the messaging app to stop sharing user data with Facebook, its parent company, within one month.

From Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

Cryptocurrency Maybe Not So Secure: Hackers stole 170 million units of Nano, a cryptocurrency forming part of the Italian cryptocurrency exchange, BitGrail, raising concerns about the security of cryptocurrency exchanges, especially lesser known exchanges which may not have proper cybersecurity defenses.


Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Idalys Núñez
Dean’s Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Erin Shahinfar
Subrina Chowdhury
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: February 2, 2018

Internet Governance

Faux Followers: Citing concerns about impersonation and deception, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman opened an investigation into Devumi, a company—and the subject of a recent New York Times exposé—that allegedly sells automated Twitter followers, some of them using real users’ identities, to celebrities, businesses, and anyone willing to pay for a bigger social media following.

SEC Halts ICO: The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) obtained a court order to freeze the assets of Dallas-based AriseBank and halt its initial coin offering (“ICO”) for failing to file registration or an exemption from registration with the agency; the thwarted ICO represents the first time the SEC has appointed a third-party custodian to secure a firm’s cryptocurrency holdings, which in this case include bitcoin, litecoin, bitshares, dogecoin and bitUSD.

Facebook Sued for Wrongful Death: The family of a Cleveland man whose murder was posted to Facebook is suing the social media platform for negligence and wrongful death, arguing that Facebook’s information and data-mining tools could have stopped the death by alerting police to a video posted just before the fatal shooting, which showed the killer professing his intent to kill the victim.

Privacy

TSA’s Facial Recognition Pilot Program: The Transportation Security Administration launched a three-week trial of facial recognition technology at Los Angeles International Airport where at designated gates, scanners capture the name on a passenger’s digital or paper boarding passes, verify the name with boarding pass data and then, if the names match, compare the passenger’s e-passport photo with a real-time image.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

UK Rules Mass Data Collection Act Unlawful: The UK’s Court of Appeal ruled that parts of the Investigatory Powers Act of 2016 are unlawful and held that the powers granted in the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act of 2014—which paved the way for the 2016 Act—did not restrict the accessing of confidential personal phone and web browsing records to serious crime, thereby conflicting with EU law by allowing police to authorize their own access without review by a court or independent administrative body.

Intellectual Property

Wrist Watch: The USPTO granted Amazon a patent for a wristband that tracks warehouse workers’ hand movements and location in real time, thus raising employees’ privacy concerns; the proposed system consists of three parts, including various ultrasonic devices placed around the work area, a module to manage data, and the wristband itself, which features a haptic feedback module that buzzes to notify workers about breaks and help workers find items in the warehouse.

We Shall Overcome Copyright Law: Parties in the copyright dispute about the 1960s protest song “We Shall Overcome” agreed to a settlement putting the civil rights anthem in the public domain; the settlement followed a decision in September by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan stripping copyright protection from the song’s most famous verse ruling that the song’s adaptation from an older work—changing “will” to “shall”—lacked originality.

Robo Cop: Ford developed a patent for a police car that can issue tickets without pulling drivers over by using artificial intelligence to find good hiding spots to catch traffic violators and identifying drivers by scanning license plates, tapping into surveillance cameras and wirelessly accessing government records; the patent application states the vehicle can perform “routine tasks,” such as issuing tickets for failure to stop at a stop sign or communicating with other vehicles on the road, but tasks that cannot be automated will be left to police officers who can be inside the vehicle at all times and reclaim control of the car when necessary.

Free Expression and Censorship

Cuba Internet Task Force: Cuba gave the top American diplomat in Havana a note of protest in response to the Trump administration’s creation of a Cuba Internet Task Force composed of U.S. government and non-governmental representatives; the U.S. State Department said that the task force will promote the “free and unregulated flow of information” by “expanding internet access and independent media,” but the Cuban Foreign Ministry counters that the task force is an attempt to violate its sovereignty and carry out interventionist and illegal actions.

Practice Note

Court Swipes Left: A California appellate court reversed a lower court’s dismissal of an age discrimination lawsuit against Tinder, stating that the company’s variable pricing for Tinder Plus, which charges more for users over 30 years old, is discriminatory because without a strong public policy justification, the pricing makes an “arbitrary, class-based generalization” about older users’ incomes, in violation of California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act and the Unfair Competition Law.

On The Lighter Side

A Wealthy Sourpuss: The Grumpy Cat wins a $710,000 payout in a copyright and trademark lawsuit.


Information Law News From CLIP-ings International Correspondents Around the Globe

This academic year, former CLIP-ings Editorial Fellows studying abroad are reporting from time-to-time on current local news and developments in the field of information law!

From Victoria Loeb – Paris, France:

GDPR Guidance: With less than 100 days until mandatory compliance, the European Commission published a guidance to aid all stakeholders to prepare for the GDPR while national data protection authorities, such as the CNIL in France, have been advising organizations, citizens, and businesses on what changes to expect and how to adapt; the Commission’s guidance urges member states to provide financial and human resources to national authorities, announced a Commission website dedicated to compliance guidelines, and designated €3.7 million to help with compliance—€1.7 million to fund data protection authorities and to train data protection professionals, and €2 million to support national efforts in reaching out to businesses.

From Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

Cryptojacking, A New Threat: Hackers targeted YouTube users in Japan, Taiwan, France, Italy, and Spain to mine cryptocurrencies without the users’ knowledge via Google’s Double Click advertising software; although Google confirmed the removal of the compromised ads, the threat of cryptojacking remains a very serious problem.


Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Idalys Núñez
Dean’s Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Erin Shahinfar
Subrina Chowdhury
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: January 19, 2018

Internet Governance

The State of Net Neutrality: A coalition of twenty-two attorney generals around the country filed a petition for review of the FCC’s recent repeal of the net neutrality rules arguing that the FCC’s decision was “arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion” and that it preempted state and local laws.

Revenge Porn Damages: In a landmark civil privacy suit, the United Kingdom’s High Court of Justice awarded American YouTube star Chrissy Chambers substantial damages against an ex-boyfriend for breach of confidence, misuse of private information, and harassment, after he uploaded videos of the couple having sex to a porn site.

Privacy

Face-Off: The wildly popular Google Arts & Culture app, which matches users’ selfies to historical artworks, is blocked for many residents of Texas and Illinois because of state privacy laws that ban the collection of biometric data, such as “face geometry,” without a user’s consent.

Health App Data = Murder Evidence? In Germany, Apple’s Health app—which records a user’s steps, nutrition, sleep patterns and heart rate—provided critical evidence in the trial of a refugee accused of killing a medical student by locating the accused’s movements, and recording two spikes in physical activity on the day in question, which the app identified as “climbing stairs.”

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Lebanese Spy Agency Phone Hack: Mobile security firm Lookout and digital rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation reported this week that Lebanon’s intelligence service may have used phishing attacks to turn the Android smartphones of thousands of targeted users into monitoring devices through which they could steal victims’ data undetected.

Lawmaker Requests Briefs on Microchip Flaws: Ongoing concern about the Spectre and Meltdown security flaws in microchips that could allow hackers to steal data from most computers and devices prompted California Representative Jerry McNerney to request briefings on the vulnerabilities from microchip makers including Intel Corp., Advanced Micro Devices, and Softbank-owned Arm Holdings.

Intellectual Property

Competition Over Digital Movies:  After Disney’s motion for a preliminary injunction to block Redbox from selling digital movies at its kiosks, Redbox filed an opposition to the injunction arguing that the case is Disney’s attempt to diminish competition for its digital streaming service and invoking the first-sale doctrine as support for the lack of merit in the suit.

TWiT v. Twitter: Internet broadcaster This Week in Tech (“TWiT”) sued Twitter alleging Twitter breached written and oral agreements and is infringing on TWiT’s trademark by setting plans to deliver original, premium video content exclusively from its platform; in its suit TWiT alleges that in 2007 Twitter’s co-founder Evan Williams agreed with a TWiT creator that Twitter would not expand into audio or visual under its brand, and thus allowed both brands to co-exist.

Free Expression and Censorship

Phillipines’ Press Crackdown: The Philippines’ government revoked the corporate registration of Rappler, an independent online news site that has reported aggressively on President Rodrigo Duterte’s troll army and police abuses in the government’s war on drugs, further emphasizing the issue of press freedom in the Philippines.

Practice Note

Ninth Circuit Ruling on Automated Downloads: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held this week in Oracle v. Rimini Street that the download of online data in violation of the host’s terms of use did not violate California’s Comprehensive Data Access and Fraud Act.

On The Lighter Side

Drone Saves Lives: A drone used for shark-spotting saved two swimmers caught in Australian rough seas by tracking the stranded duo a half-a-mile from shore and dropping them a flotation device.


Information Law News From CLIP-ings International Correspondents Around the Globe

This academic year, former CLIP-ings Editorial Fellows studying abroad are reporting from time-to-time on current local news and developments in the field of information law!

From Victoria Loeb – Paris, France:

5G Test Phase: Arcep, France’s telecommunications regulator, will begin issuing temporary authorizations to use 5G-related frequencies to gather information on the “benefits and usage” of the mobile internet; the country’s five largest telecom operators purchased permits to be the first to use the frequencies, but Arcep’s chairman wants to avoid a “hasty allocation” without fully understanding the new technology.

Au Revoir, English Tech: Resisting the ubiquity of English words in the French language, the Journal officiel de la République française published alternatives to tech-related phrases such as “dark net” (“internet clandestin”) and “hashtag” (“mot-dièse”); most recently, the Commission for Enrichment of the French Language recommended use of the term “mobile multifunction” instead of “smartphone.”

From Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

No Pictures Please! As part of divorce proceedings involving the boy’s parents, a Roman court held that the mother is subject to a €10,000 fine if she posts Facebook pictures of her 16 year-old son without the son’s consent; under Italian law, privacy and publicity rights of an image’s subject place limits on the copyright holder’s exclusive rights.


Job and Fellowship Opportunities

From time-to-time, CLIP-ings will highlight career opportunities in the information law field. Please note the following:

Summer 2018 Law, Policy & Technologist Intern at the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT)

Summer interns work closely with CDT policy experts, technologists, and attorneys on an array of civil liberties and international human rights issues related to technology and the internet, including online free expression, electronic surveillance, digital copyright, cybersecurity, internet governance, and consumer privacy.

For more information see here. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until March 15, 2018.

Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) is hiring a communications associate, policy counsel and policy fellow.

The Future of Privacy Forum brings together industry, academics, consumer advocates, and other thought leaders to explore the challenges posed by technological innovation and develop privacy protections, ethical norms and workable business practices. The positions may be done on a part-time basis by current law students or recent graduates.

For more information about the specific positions, follow the links directly above.

Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency (FAT*) Conference is looking for volunteers.

The FAT* Conference, which brings together researchers and practitioners interested in fairness, accountability, and transparency in socio-technical systems, is looking for student volunteers to help with check-in, registration, and other logistics. There may also be an opportunity to prepare a write-up of the conference. Volunteers will be able to attend both days of the conference for free.

The conference will take place on February 23-24 from 8 AM-5 PM at NYU Law School.

If you’re interested in serving as a student volunteer, please send Amanda Levendowski (levendowski@nyu.edu) a short email expressing your interest, providing your availability during the conference, and saying a few words about why you’d like to be a student volunteer by Friday, January 19 at 8 PM.

ATRIP Essay Competition 2017 for Young Researchers in Intellectual Property Law

ATRIP is currently accepting essays for its annual competition for young researchers in intellectual property law. The paper may pertain to any topic related to intellectual property law.

For more information see here. Entries should be submitted to admin@atrip.org  no later than February 15, 2018.

Please feel free to send us any position announcements at CLIP@law.fordham.edu CLIP@law.fordham.edu.


Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Idalys Núñez
Dean’s Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Erin Shahinfar
Subrina Chowdhury
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

Correction: January 25, 2018
In an earlier version of this post, in the portion titled “No Pictures Please!,” we erroneously stated that “under Italian law, the image’s copyright belongs to the subject rather than the photographer.” Although Italian law does provide copyright ownership to the author of a photograph, privacy and publicity rights of the subject place limits on exclusive rights of the copyright holder.